Virginia Courses

Christopher Newport University


The Psychology of the Human-Animal Bond: Exploring our Relationship with Animals

Sherman Lee

Animals play a central role in the lives of their human companions. This course will explore the complex relationship between humans and animals in a variety of contexts. Topics will include research methods, pets, animals for food and clothing, animals in human culture and health, psychological disorders, welfare and cruelty, and death and dying. Although the study of the human-animal bond draws from a range of disciplines, the topics in this seminar will be framed from a psychological perspective with an emphasis on the cognitive, emotional, and motivational components of the human experience.

College of William and Mary

American Studies

Animal Americans: Human Animal Relationships and the Creation of America

Merit Kaschig

Non-human animals are part and particle of our everyday lives. We depend on them for sustenance, for clothes and for labor. We watch them on TV, read about them in books and magazines, fight them as “pests,” nurture them as “helpers,” contain them in zoos, draft them for wars, play with them at home, and train them to assist us at work and in emergencies. Most importantly, we project our fears, hopes and desires onto them. Engaging with scholarship across disciplines, this course will study the relationships between human and non-human animals in historical perspective in order to shed light on the construction of US-identities from colonial times to the present. Through the course of the semester, our investigation of literature of history, anthropology, cultural studies, philosophy, psychology, and biology as well as of motion pictures, cartoons, web-sites, nature shows, and magazines will, I hope, allow us to do the following: First, look at animal bodies as sites of conflict that reverberate in larger social movements. Second, understand human-animal relations not as carefree and casual but as carefully constructed and contested relations of knowledge and power.

James Madison University


Rhetorics of the Animal: Humans, Dolphins, and other People

Alex Parrish

In this course we will explore the ways various peoples have defined the human, as opposed to an animal other. What it is to be a human, a person, and an animal is not static; these definitions change over time and across cultures. What is universal, though, is the idea of a boundary between human and animal, and the ways we define either category helps define the other. Rhetorics of the Animal will feature readings from the history of rhetoric, biology, biosemiotics, literature, art history, and philosophy. Assignments will include creative work, presentation, and a research component.


Animal Welfare

Ruth E. Chodrow

An examination of the biological basis of animal welfare. Topics include the evolution of domestic animals, physiological and behavioral measurements of stress, welfare assessment and pain perception. Case studies examine the use of animals for companionship, food, medical research and entertainment.

New Century College/George Mason University

Animal Rights and Human Exploitation

Paul Gorski

Participants in this learning community will engage with a combination of critical theories, experiential learning, and dialogical practices to examine the ways in which non-human animals are exploited for human profit. We will explore, as well, the ramifications of this exploitation ecologically, as a question of sustainability, and spiritually, as a question of the impact of animal abuse on the human spirit. Among the animal rights concerns we will examine are the use of animals in entertainment, factory farming, animal testing, and sport or trophy hunting. We will discuss, as well, how individuals and organizations are fighting these practices.

Animal Rights Issues/Movements

Paul Gorski

Explores forms of animal exploitation and abuse, and examines the relationship between humans and non – human animals, drawing from a variety of disciplines and fields such as feminist studies, animal studies, sociology, ethics, critical studies, and environmental studies. Assessment of the methods and strategies used by organizations and movements in order to redress animal exploitation. May not be repeated for credit.


University of Virginia


Animals: Good to Think

Carrie Douglass

Animals: Good to Think will be a seminar on the anthropology of human cultural relations with animals. It is inspired in part by the recent research and theory in animal studies.  The seminar will emphasize only a few of many possible themes, such as animals as symbol, animals as spectacle and sport, animals as domesticates, “pets” and food, and animals as scientific object. We will especially emphasize horses.


Virginia Tech

Human-Wildlife Conflicts

Megan M. Draheim

Human-wildlife conflict resolution is a rapidly growing area within the wildlife sciences that draws upon the need for multi-disciplinary approaches to resolve complex issues associated with human domination of ecosystems. The problems people have with wild animals and the problems wild animals have with people require the use of cooperative, collaborative, and innovative approaches if they are to be resolved in ways that maximize both social and ecological benefits. Nowhere do the challenges in this area loom larger than in our urban and suburban environments. Within very recent times the growing conflicts between people and wild animals such as beaver, deer, coyote and Canada geese have developed to a point where the entire paradigm of wildlife management has been changed. This course draws upon some of the emerging issues associated with human-wildlife conflicts and through the use of case histories and examples explore the theory and practice of conflict resolution as well as the practical ethics needed to navigate contemporary wildlife management.

Washington and Lee University


The Ancient Animal World

Athena Kirk

This course moves between the classical literary and philosophical heritage and contemporary questions of engagement with animals, exposing students to ancient taxonomies and cultural attitudes while using service learning and site visit exercises to encourage reflections on human interactions with animals.


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